3rd December, 2010
Following his refusal to reinstate a district head, Chief Stephen Ogbe, pending the determination of the substantive suit before a court, a royal father, HRH Chief Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, the Ochâ€™Idoma IV, may face a contempt of court for his action.
An Okpoga High Court headed by Justice E.N Kpojime had asked the Idoma Paramount ruler to re-install Chief Ogbe to the status of Anaogene of Owuno clan in Ogbadigbo Local Government Area of the state pending the determination of the substantive case of applicant alleged unlawful elevation to the throne. But the royal father refused to comply with the directives.
Therefore, in motion MHC/608M/ 2006, the applicants, Chief Ogbe and others had prayed the court to convict the Ochâ€™Idoma and others for contempt of court for failing to comply with the ruling on the motion granted since 2006.
It was gathered that Ogbeâ€™s elevation to the throne is been challenged by his rival to the chieftaincy stool contest, Raphael Agada, who alleged various irregularities in his elevation to the traditional position. Agada had therefore prayed the court to, among other things, nullify the selection and the declaration of Ogbe as the new Anaogene of Owuno clan.
Agada also brought a motion before an Okpoga High Court seeking to restrain Ogbe from acting in that capacity. The respondent (Ogbe) also filed his counter-claim and after arguments by counsels to both parties, the motion failed to succeed in favor of the applicants, as the court ordered the temporary installation of Ogbe pending the determination of the substantive suit, which the Ichiâ€™Idoma and the Idoma Area Tradition Council (IATC) had failed to act on since 2006..
The form 48, notifying the Ochiâ€™Idoma of violation of the ruling on the motion read, â€œthe defendants to the counter claim whether by themselves, their officers, agents, servants, privies or otherwise whosoever, are hereby ordered to accord to the Applicant/Counter Claimant, a temporary recognition of Anaogene of Owuno and allow him carry out the functions of that office pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.â€
In another letter dated, November 22, 2010, the trial judge observed that the Ochiâ€™Idoma had reported her to the Tor Tiv, expressing his displeasure which informed why the Tor Tiv sent emissaries of traditional rulers to her directly and also through the Chief Judge of the State over the case pending in her court.
The judge expressed disappointment in the Ochiâ€™Idoma, whom, she said, is supposed to be a custodian of tradition as well as uphold the tenets of justice.
“He has clearly demonstrated that he has no confidence that I would handle the case judiciously. I have no personal interest in the case and I feel that the best I can do in the circumstance is to remit it to the Hon. Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge. Case file is hereby remitted,â€ Justice Kpojime said.